Syracuse Rides Hot Third Quarter, Crushes Pittsburgh

Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsmanm yells to his players in the fourth quarter of a second round women’s college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament against Albany in Syracuse, N.Y., Sunday, March 20, 2016. Syracuse won 76-59. (AP Photo/Nick Lisi)
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019 at 9:49 pm by Sports Editor

By A.J. Fabbri

CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Reporter

No. 12 Syracuse (13-4, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) picked up its ninth-straight win this Thursday night, led by a dominant third quarter that propelled the Orange to an 82-50 victory over Pittsburgh (9-9, 0-5).

Up 38-32 at the outset of the second half, Syracuse proceeded to outscore Pitt 28-8 in the third quarter, coasting to an easy road victory.

Pitt, under first year head coach Lance White, kept pace with SU in the first half by eating up most of the shot clock, and limiting the Orange’s three-point shooting.

Syracuse’s two leading scorers, Tiana Mangakahia and Miranda Drummond, were held to a combined five points in the first half, leaving Digna Strautmane and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi shouldered the load. The two combined to shoot 10-11 from the field for 23 points in the first half alone, and their efficient shooting carried over into the second half.

Strautmane recorded a season high in points with 22 on 7-9 shooting, including going 4-5 from three point range.

Djaldi-Tabdi was perfect from the field, finishing 7-7 from the floor for 16 points and eight rebounds.

Strautmane hit her second three-pointer of the game with eight minutes left in the third frame, and the route was on. Mangakahia, who tallied just three points in the first half, surpassed that in the first two minutes of the third quarter. She hit a runner in the lane, followed by two free throws. From there, the Orange went on a 25-2 run, blowing the Panthers out of their own gym.

And while the Syracuse offense caught fire, its defense was equally impressive. SU head coach Quentin Hillsman’s 2-3 matchup zone completely blanketed the Panthers. During SU’s third-quarter run, Pitt was held to a meager 3-15 from the field.

This season, the Orange has taken games over in the third quarter, averaging 21.2 points in the third frame alone, outscoring opponents 360-283.

Syracuse remains third in the ACC behind 5-0 Notre Dame and 4-0 North Carolina State. The Orange will wrap up its road trip on Sunday in the peach state as SU visits Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. this Sunday. | @armand_john